Mother’s Work Status and Infant Mortality in Ethiopia: a Study Based on Demographic and Health Survey Data

No Thumbnail Available



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Addis Abeba university


Despite its many advantages, the work of women in economic activities in Ethiopia has been associated with increased and decreased mortality of infants. Thus, this study examines whether these conclusions are upheld at the level of the typical Ethiopian mother. Using data from the Ethiopia Demographic and health Survey (EDHS) in year 2000, the effect of work status of mothers on infant survival is investigated at country level. The study uses information on 15,367 women of age 15-49 included in the survey for the entire country. The effect of work is also evaluated separately by type of work whether the work is professional/technical/clerical or agricultural/manual. Cox regression model is used to examine the association between infant mortality and mother’s work stuatus. Using the Kaplan-Meier estimation technique, the univariate analysis shows that survival of infants is 93.2 percent with standard deviation of 0.0060. The bivariate comparison of infant mortality rates for the period two years before the survey according to mother’s work status reveals that mothers who are working had no significant difference on infant mortality from mothers who are not working. These results are largely upheld in the multivariate analysis. However, according to the type of work, the relative risk of infant mortality for agricultural/manual is 1.170 times higher than non-workers. The risk of death is also significantly lower among professional/technical/clerical workers (32 percent) than non-working mothers. Multivariate analysis assesses the strength of apparent association between work status of the mother and infant mortality by controlling other characteristics likely to influence the outcomes. The relative risks associated with several other variables are statistically significant and in the expected direction. Among these factors the length of the preceding birth interval for infants exerted an expected beneficial effect on the hazard ratio of infants. There is also evidence of a strong detrimental effect of the birth order on the hazard ratio of infant death. As expected, being first born significantly increases the probability of dying at infant stage. The risk of infant death is higher in those who are not married than married; among other variables the probability of infant death will be lower if the mother is educated



Demographic and Health Survey Data